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When to consult a dermatologist for hair fall?

Even here, a person with a thicker hair diameter and curly hair, is less likely to have scalp visibility as compared to someone with fine and limp hair.

When to consult a dermatologist for hair fall?
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CHENNAI: How much hair fall is normal? If you Google the topic, hair fall of upto 100 hair strands a day, is mentioned as normal. But is this really normal? Well, that depends on several factors, including and not limited to - the existing status of the hair for that individual, the duration over which these 100 hairs per day are falling, the regrowth parameters, the hair type - the physical characteristics of the hair, to name a few.

If someone has a head full of hair, and has a loss of about 100 strands a day, for a limited period of 3-4 months, and with an eventual recovery to regrowth - typically what happens in post partum hair loss aka PPTE ( post partum telogen effluvium), then we do not have much reason to worry. Even here, a person with a thicker hair diameter and curly hair, is less likely to have scalp visibility as compared to someone with fine and limp hair.

In contrast, taking the same scenario as above, but in a person with pre-existing hair loss, all it takes is a few months of 100 strands a day, to land them in an advanced grade of hair fall. Simply put, if you have less wealth, all it takes it a bad spell of loss, to create bankruptcy.

Similarly, even with a fair bit of hair fall, some individuals do not see any major loss of coverage. Here, the important point to check is the pony tail thickness, which can become quickly diminished indicating significant hair loss.

So, when you should meet the dermatologist? You definitely need a medical evaluation if,

■ Your hair loss is leading to scalp visibility.

■ You notice no reduction in shedding, even after making sure that you have a balanced and nutrient rich diet.

■ Your pony tail thickness has been reducing very rapidly.

■ You have tried over the counter products such as caffeine or topical melatonin solutions for a few months, and still do not see any control of shedding.

■ You have other symptoms such as excessive fatigue and tiredness, which can all signal that you might be having anemia or thyroid issues - which can both cause hair loss.

■ If you have been having irregular cycles, or if the hair loss on the scalp is accompanied by hair growth on the face, or in similar uncharacteristic anatomic locations, then your hair loss could be the result of an underlying hormonal imbalance. Visiting a dermatologist and having tests done followed by appropriate medical treatment, can make a huge difference to your hair fall.

If you are experiencing hair fall, start by working on the basics- eat right, sleep early, exercise, try to reduce stress where possible.

However, if you feel that the hair loss is uncharacteristic, or prolonged, or causing scalp visibility, you should meet your derm at the earliest. Early treatment for hair loss can make a huge difference before the condition becomes refractory.

Dr Renita Rajan
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